Don Newcombe, Brooklyn Dodgers, excellent pitcher, dies at the age of 92

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By David K. Li

The great Don Newcombe of Brooklyn Dodgers, one of the players who helped break the color barrier of the Major League Baseball, died on Tuesday, team officials said.

He was 92 years old.

"One of the best pitchers in the history of the Dodgers and one of the last ties of the franchise with Brooklyn and the days of Roy Campanella and Jackie Robinson passed away after a long illness this morning, "announced the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Don Newcombe of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1957.Bettmann Archives

The intimidating 6-foot-4 right handed 10 seasons to the Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians. He made his debut in Brooklyn in 1949 and was named a rookie of the year, just two years after his teammate, Robinson, became the first African American major league player.

He faced Hank Thompson of the New York Giants in a match on July 8, 1949, making the first time a black pitcher and a hitter who faced each other in an MLB match.

In an interview with in 2015, Newcombe recalled meeting Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, just 28 days before the assassination of civil rights leaders, and how King had thanked him, Robinson and other baseball players Roy Campanella and Larry Doby for their contribution. to the fight.

"He said 'Don, you'll never know how easy it is for you, Jackie, Roy and Doby to do my job by doing what you did on the baseball field," said Newcombe. "After all that he went through, here he was telling me how we helped him with the movement, I will never forget it."

Newcombe met with then-President Barack Obama at a 2010 fundraiser in California, and the commander-in-chief told Greater Brooklyn how much he admired him.

"I just had the honor of meeting him," said Obama, taking a photo with him and he was very kind, saying, "You know, Jackie would be proud." And I said, "Well, I would not be here without Jackie and Don Newcombe."

Even in those few relative cases, Newcombe and his Dodgers were losers, he always managed to get an overview.

He launched 8 1/3 of brilliant runs for the Dodgers in the 1951 National League playoff game against the New York Giants. He was replaced by Ralph Branca – who then served the touring tour of the whole world to Bobby Thomson.

"This home race was not only meaningful for Bobby Thomson and the Giants and for New York City, it was significant for baseball, and people remembered all the years Bobby had spent on this land, from the moment he hit them until his death, "said the magnanimous Newcombe the day after Thomson's death in 2010.

"Bobby was an excellent baseball player and I think if anyone had the chance to enjoy the glory that he enjoyed, I'm glad it was Bobby Thomson."

The 1951 playoff game was the Newcombe's last game for more than two years, as it had missed the 1952 and 1953 seasons to compete in the Korean War.

He rebounded in 1955 to win 20 games, bringing the Brooklyn Dodgers to win their first and only world title.

Newcombe followed this brilliant year 1955 with the best season of his career, in 1956, when he won the Cy Young Award and National League MVP. The Dodgers won the NL pennant this season before bowing to the New York Yankees in the World Series.

He had a career / career record of 149-90.

Newcombe launched a season for the Dodgers after moving to Los Angeles in 1958. He was among the last 18 players still alive to be dressed for the Brooklyn Dodgers, according to Baseball Reference.

Former baseball player Donald Newcombe, left, chats with Curtis Granderson of the New York Mets at the baton training before the Mets' baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 22, 2014 , in Los Angeles.Mark J. Terrill / AP File

In his later years, the big pitcher was open about his alcohol problems, which he said had contributed to the premature end of his playing career.

Newcombe was a popular figure among contemporary Dodgers, who admired the splendor of this great launcher. He rarely appeared in public without a coat, tie and fedora, with gamers congregating regularly alongside Newcombe to talk about his sons.

"I dress like that because I want these kids to know what it's like to look professional," he told the Los Angeles Times in 2010. "And because I remember not having any clothes."

Newcombe leaves behind his wife, Karen; his sons Don Newcombe Jr. and Brett Anthony Newcombe; a daughter, Kelly Roxanne Newcombe; and two grandchildren.

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